Nevada Regional Medical Center (NRMC) announces it will host a free cholesterol screening sponsored by NRMC Foundation from 6 to 9 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 18. Registration is open to the public, but appointments are limited.
According to NRMC cardiologist, Dr. David Zuehlke, the two largest risk factors that can accelerate heart disease include tobacco use and diabetes. Other major risk factors include hypertension (or high blood pressure) and elevated cholesterol, followed by family history. Elevated cholesterol levels can be an indicator of heart disease while maintaining healthy cholesterol levels can lower chances of heart disease and stroke.
For men, typical symptoms of coronary artery disease or a heart attack include chest discomfort and pressure that radiates to the back, arm or neck, nausea, sweating, shortness of breath. However, for women, the symptoms can be confused with other mild illnesses.
“Women will often present with shortness of breath, abdominal pain with some nausea and fatigue,” Dr. Zuehlke said. “That’s what makes it difficult to diagnose women; these symptoms could be so many other things that coronary artery disease in women often gets missed.”
Dr. Zuehlke recommends that someone who experiences symptoms that go away with rest should visit a doctor as soon as possible to be evaluated. However, if someone is experiencing symptoms while at rest, or that are worsening, that person should call 9-1-1 for an ambulance. He does not advise driving oneself to the emergency room, or even being driven by someone else.
Persons with risk factors for heart disease can be proactive by visiting with a cardiologist or primary care provider before they experience symptoms and discover ways to prevent heart problems. The American Heart Association recommends all adults age 20 or older should have their cholesterol (and other risk factors) checked every four to six years and talk with a doctor to determine one’s risk for heart disease.
To register for the free cholesterol screening, visit www.nrmchealth.com or call (417) 448-3801.